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Monday, November 29, 2010

Dying for a Date by Cindy Sample

Dying for a Date by Cindy Sample
Publisher: L & L Dreamspell
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (271 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When her dating service turns deadly, Laurel must race to find the killer before she becomes the next victim…

Not sure if she is looking for Mr. Right, or Mr. Every Other Saturday Night, recently divorced Laurel McKay reluctantly joins THE LOVE CLUB, a matchmaking agency advertised as the safe alternative to on-line dating.

After Bachelor one decides he wants her for dessert, Laurel dispatches him with her cell phone. The next day she discovers her drop dead gorgeous date has literally dropped dead. When Bachelor two disappears during dinner, Laurel’s only alibi is a friendly bottle of Dom Perignon. The investigating detective has to decide if the sassy soccer mom is a killer, or the next target.

Her boss at Hangtown Bank threatens to fire her when he learns the latest victim was an important client. Fortunately he needs her expertise to investigate some questionable loans. Laurel and her mother, who insists her daughter is innocent because she is too disorganized to plan a murder, set out to save her reputation, her job, and her life.

What’s a woman going to do when her dates, one a boring octopus and the other an interesting doctor, both end up dead? She'd probably prefer to crawl under a rock, but she’s a mom and moms can’t do that.

I had a fun time with this well written romantic suspense, especially since it wasn’t all about over the top bad guys and macho mega-men doing Martial Arts and knowing super secret handshakes. This book is about a handsome cop doing his job and trying to do it by the book as much as he can. It’s a story about a mother who tries the dating scene and gets more than she bargained for. However, after divorcing an idiot who browbeat her confidence as a woman into the ground, and raising two delightful, smart and cheeky kids, she’s not about to roll over and hide after a well earned panic session. Oh no, the heroine is much more well evolved than that.

Her name is Laurel. She is juggling her family, a job and her well meaning but very proper mother. She has a great best friend who tries to help her and a few other fabulous friends who end up showing how wonderful they are when they stick by her. Ms. Sample has peppered this story with adorable and fascinating secondary characters that help Laurel to shine, grow and get into mischief. Laurel isn’t one to sit on the sidelines and let someone else save her bacon – she’s bound and determined to figure out who’s framing her. Imagine my surprise who it turns out to be and why. I also was intrigued with how the author had Laurel putting the pieces together. Who knew a boring, average and detailed job could be so dangerous? Who knew that almost getting into a tiff at a soccer game could be the turning point in her life for both good and ill?

Ms. Sample has written a book with an intricate plot woven throughout akin to a diabolical maze. Laurel plodded along relentlessly despite so many telling her to back off. She refused to give up and was determined to solve the puzzle and she kept me interested every amazing step of the way.

Detective Hunk a/k/a Detective Hunter was a man I enjoyed reading about. I liked his slow fall into love, his caring for his child and his gradual realization that Laurel is a woman to respect as well as lust after.

Ms. Sample again created a character that I liked, was curious about and could understand the heroine’s attraction to him. I got a kick out of the fact that Laurel was able to find out some information that the hero never would have thought to get or pursue but ended up being very pertinent. I also got the giggles on how he reacted. Oftentimes I got the impression he wanted to hug her and throttle her all at the same time. The emotional connection between them is tangible.

This is a romantic suspense so the stakes are high. I never could figure out who the bad guy was until the author wanted me to. I, as well as the police, were led on a merry chase with clues and revelations mounting until it got to the big climax. Here too were amazing reveals about Laurel’s mom and her own father. It was at times simultaneously harrowing, exciting, tender and uplifting. There is so much going on in the book that time literally flew by as I turned the pages. The pace remained brisk, the plot tight and the descriptions well written.

Dying for a Date is a book that should appeal to all romantic suspense readers because it is lively, entertaining, a true who-done-it combined with a romance that will warm the heart and sheets. I’m thrilled that I got to read this book and I intend to look for other stories written by Ms. Sample. She knows how to weave a story that satisfies and excites.